POLITICS

New Brunswick forecasts smaller budget deficit in latest economic update

11/14/2014 04:02 EST | Updated 01/14/2015 05:59 EST
FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government says its projected deficit is shrinking.

Finance Minister Roger Melanson released a second-quarter fiscal update Friday that says the province is projecting a deficit of $377.2 million for 2014-15.

That's $13.9 million less than the number projected in the province's most recent budget.

Melanson says the improved financial position is largely due to a one-time payment of $45.8 million related to the transition of the provincial Financial and Consumer Services Commission to the federal Co-operative Capital Markets Regulatory System.

Melanson says projected revenues are up by $78.5 million but that will be largely offset by $64.5 million in higher-than-budgeted expenses in number of departments, including health, education and public safety.

The Department of Finance is projecting real GDP growth for New Brunswick of 1.1 per cent for 2014, which is slightly higher than the consensus among private-sector forecasts.

Meanwhile, wages and salaries have grown by 0.8 per cent, well below the 10-year average of 3.5 per cent.